Fortitude and Game of Thrones star Richard Dormer has a new lead role – as a facially disfigured copper in new BBC1 drama Rellik.
The thrilling crime series opens with the apparent capture – and death – of a serial killer and spools back across six episodes to see how the man was caught and what other secrets there are to unlock.
The killer’s modus operandi is acid and from the very first scene it is clear that Dormer’s lead investigator Gabriel Markham was injured by having the substance thrown in his face – and that’s where his Game of Thrones connections came in…
Dormer’s Thrones character Beric Dondarrion was seen last series in the far north of Westeros in the company of The Hound, Sandor Clegane, played by Rory McCann. And who better to consult about acting for weeks on end with a prosthetic disfigurement than the man whose Westerosi alter ego has prominent burns down one side of his face.
Unfortunately, the answer wasn’t what he wanted to hear.
“I phoned him and said I have to have this thing on and he just told me: ‘you’re f****d mate’,” laughs Dormer who didn’t enjoy the experience.
He told RadioTimes.com: “He told me to keep squeezing it to get the sweat out because if it builds up it starts to fall away from the face. It’s pretty grotesque.
“It was two hours to put on – we got it down to about an hour and a half towards the end and about half an hour to take off.
“It was horrible because you really start to overheat because three quarters of your head is covered so there’s nowhere to sweat so it becomes a little bag of sweat on your head. In the middle of a scene I would smile and I would just squirt. It was as if half of my face is paralysed, every time I smile I have this little mask, it was strange.”
In fact, Dormer said that if another series of Rellik is mooted he won’t be in it because of the discomfort he experienced.
“I honestly don’t want to put that face on again,” he said.
“It was a real ordeal. It was horrendous. Monday mornings were not good because I knew I had five days to go through with the make up on. The shoot was nearly five months.
“I wasn’t able to see what I looked like for months and I forgot who I was a bit in a way. It was perfect for getting into the role but it was very emotional.”
Dormer was unable to say whether he would appear in the final series of Games of Thrones.
“I do know but I have been told not to say – because it would give away whether Beric Dondarrion survives the collapse of The Wall.”
And he still hasn’t got round to watching the series.
“Myself, Rory and Paul Kaye all agreed not to watch it between the times we were in it because we didn’t want it to overwhelm our little bits. But I am trying now.”
Does this mean he won’t be back in Westeros? He still won’t say. But as he’s only on episode two of series one he still has a fair bit of viewing to do…
Rellik starts on BBC1 on Monday 11th September